'Duchess' likely to descend on Venice


With activity on the Croisette drawing to a close, eyes already are turning toward Venice, where Saul Dibb's historical drama "The Duchess" and Ridley Scott's "Body of Lies" are expected to be among the big-name U.S. films screening out of competition on the Lido.

More than three months before the Coen brothers' "Burn After Reading" opens the fest, few contracts have been signed. But with Brad Pitt, George Clooney, John Malkovich and Tilda Swinton likely to appear on the red carpet in conjunction with "Burn," Venice's paparazzi can look for Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes ("Duchess") and Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe ("Lies") to join them.

Venice's 22-film competition lineup has been made up entirely of world premieres the past two years, and the festival is said to be looking to make it three in a row. The event is set for Aug. 27-Sept. 6.

Other likely selections: Spike Lee's "Miracle at St. Anna"; "The Women," a comedy that stars Eva Mendes, Meg Ryan and Carrie Fisher; and Baz Luhrmann's "Australia," which stars Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman.

Liza Foreman, Gregg Kilday, Rebecca Leffler and Scott Roxborough contributed to this report.